PHILADELPHIA - The city has moved back the deadline requiring all union-represented City of Philadelphia employees and contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The original deadline was Friday, Jan. 14.
The new deadline is Monday, Jan. 24.
The city says the delay is due to ongoing negotiations with labor unions. So far, the city says 81% of employees are in compliance - with 22,000 employees having been fully vaccinated. 1,300 employees have received exemptions, the city says.
The mayor's office says the implementation date may be subject to future adjustment.
"As vaccines continue to be the best way to protect Philadelphians and save lives, we’re proud that nearly 22,000 City employees have gotten vaccinated and at least another 1,300 have an approved exemption to the vaccination mandate for City employees—representing nearly 81 percent of all City employees," said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. "We also commend those employees who’ve taken the first steps to getting vaccinated—receiving at least one dose of the vaccine by today."
The city announced the mandate back in Nov. 2021, after implementing vaccine mandates for new employees institutes of higher education, healthcare workers, and exempt and non-represented civil service employees.
To help sway employees who may have been on the fence about getting the jab, the city had offered a $300 bonus to all city employees who show proof of vaccination by Christmas.
City employees with "valid exemptions" were required to submit their request by Dec. 20 for review. Employees who are granted an exemption are required to two masks or an N95 and submit to regular testing.
Officials said employees who fail to comply will be considered unable to fulfill their duties and will be placed on unpaid leave for no longer than 15 days. Continued refusal to be vaccinated could result in firing, city officials wrote.
"As public servants, we bear a responsibility to mitigate the harm that would result from inadvertent transmission of COVID-19 to our colleagues and the public and to set an example for other organizations and companies," Mayor Jim Kenney wrote in an emailed announcement of the new policy. "We owe it to our city — and to ourselves — to do all we can to keep us all safe."